William Toti


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From CO to CEO:

A Practical Guide for Transitioning from Military to Industry Leadership

The seminal manual for service members transitioning to civilian careers, and for corporate leaders who want to maximize the potential for their veteran employees’ success.

100% 5-star reviews on Amazon!

From CO to CEO is for any service member transitioning to a civilian career.

More than 200,000 service members separate from the military each year. More than half of those surveyed about the process felt as if they had little to no help with the transition.

That’s why William J. Toti, retired naval officer and former CEO of Sparton Corporation, wrote From CO to CEO: A Practical Guide for Transitioning from Military to Industry Leadership. As someone who successfully progressed from captain of a nuclear submarine to a captain of industry, he knows what it takes to make the most of your military training and what more is needed to rise up the ranks in the C-suite.

And for corporate leaders: you want to do the right thing by recruiting and hiring veterans.  That’s great!  

forBut once hired, do you know how to optimize your veteran employees’ potential for success?  Or do you simply throw them into the deep end?

Although the book “From CO to CEO” is written in a voice that speaks to veterans, reading it will be a vital enabler for employers’ understanding of how to help their veteran employees maximize their potential.

This Book Will Help You:

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Captain William Toti portrait

\\ Biography \\

Captain William J. Toti, USN (Ret)
Served for more than
26 years on Active Duty

Retired U.S. Navy Capt. William J. Toti served for more than 26 years on active duty, from enlisted seaman to Commanding Officer of the nuclear submarine USS Indianapolis (SSN-697) and Commodore of Submarine Squadron 3. He served more than nine years in the Pentagon, including tours as special assistant to the Vice Chief of Naval Operations, as Navy representative to the Joint Requirements Oversight Council and as Deputy Director of Navy War Plan Deep Blue.

After transitioning to industry in 2006, Toti served in various roles, including Vice President of Raytheon, Hewlett-Packard, DXC Technology and HPE, and as President of Cubic Corporation and L-3 Maritime Systems. He eventually became President and former CEO of Sparton Corporation.

Toti holds a bachelor’s degree in physics from the U.S. Naval Academy, and a master’s degree in spacecraft systems engineering and pre-doctoral electrical engineering degree from the Naval Postgraduate School. Among many other honors, Toti is a seven-time recipient of the Legion of Merit. He and his wife, Karen, are parents of two adult children and reside in Florida.

A typical review, this one published in “The Submarine Review,” September 2022:


“From CO to CEO: 

A Practical Guide for Transitioning from Military to Industry Leadership”

Author: CAPT William Toti, USN, ret.

Publisher: Forefront Books

268 Pages, $26.08 (Amazon)

Reviewer: CAPT Roy H. Harkins, USN, ret.


From CO to CEO is the book I wish I had been able to read when I was preparing my own transition from 25 years on active duty to my post-Navy civilian career. Author William Toti takes the reader on a five part journey that is both educational and thought provoking. The book provides exactly what the subtitle suggests: a practical guide. His advice is very helpful, if not essential, for transitioning military members. His target audience is senior officers (paygrades O-5 and O-6) with 20+ years of service. However, both senior enlisted and junior officers alike will certainly benefit from Toti’s planning advice. Even retiring flag & general officers will find value in his advice and counsel regarding the many choices and decisions that must be made in order to achieve greater success and personal/professional satisfaction in the transition process. 

There have been many books written on career planning, job hunting, resume preparation, job interviewing, etc. but this one is different and it is better. Here’s why: Toti presents tailored advice that goes far beyond the generic guides for career change. He offers a detailed study guide that will get the reader to think hard about the choices at hand. If a transitioning military leader wants to begin a career anywhere within the military-industrial complex, and she does her homework as Toti suggests, she is going to be far better informed and far better prepared to navigate the process and achieve success.

The book is well-organized and flows in a logical sequence that will help the reader make decisions and take deliberate actions needed to land a good job, one that fits the individual. Toti offers numerous anecdotes and “sea stories” from his own experience. He explains, in sometimes brutally honest detail, the many pitfalls of career choices and how to avoid mistakes that could lead to frustration and career disappointment. 

One of the most compelling features of From CO to CEO is a clear and candid explanation of “how things really work in Government Contracting and Procurement.” Toti has done an excellent job in closing the gap (or reducing the mis-match) between the reader’s knowledge about industry, and industry’s knowledge about the transitioning military member. A wide variety of transitioning military leaders, with vastly different backgrounds and experiences, will all benefit from the advice in this book. He writes passionately about the continuing need to support a strong national defense within a system that is often flawed, inefficient and frustrating.  

The numerous personal examples and experiences throughout the book shine a light on subtleties that can drive success or failure in industry. His explanation regarding the difference between leadership and management as an industry leader is, in this reviewer’s opinion, insightful and spot on. His appendix presents highly relevant information regarding a job-seeker’s online presence and is particularly informative. 

Toti’s writing style is clear and straightforward. His insights and advice are designed to get the reader to think hard about the many issues and decisions needed for a successful transition and continued success as an industry leader. It is obvious that he wrote the book with a clear desire to help military members succeed in their follow-on careers. From CO to CEO hits the mark, delivering good advice and helpful suggestions for a wide range of transitioning military personnel.        

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